(25 Oct 2021) As libraries and research offices evolve with the complex and competitive demands of the research enterprise, tensions over their respective roles have become apparent in at least two areas: open access (OA) and data management.
The issue came into the spotlight in August as it emerged that the Australian Research Council (ARC) had rejected grant proposals that mentioned preprints. This followed a rule change that forbade including or referring to preprints in any part of applications.
Previously it was only the inclusion of preprints in the applicant’s own list of publications that was banned. The change was missed by dozens of grant-seekers. In its own defence, the ARC said the rule change had been communicated to university research offices through webinars before the grants round opened.
The rule change, condemned as “astonishing” and “outdated” given the established place of preprints in the open science ecosystem, has since been reversed.
But for Em Johnson, a scholarly communications librarian in Australia, the episode highlighted a troubling knowledge gap between university research offices and libraries.
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